All About Water Filters
Though it may appear safe to drink, clear water doesn't always translate to clean water. While travelling through the pipes to reach its final destination, contaminants like bacteria, chlorine, fluoride compounds, lead, mercury, pesticides and waste particles may be picked up along the way. Though the water is generally disinfected and fortified at some point throughout the journey, there is no guarantee it will be completely free of impurities. It is for this and many other reasons that an investment in water filters may be worth consideration to ensure that the drinking water is as pure as possible at its final destination.
By removing these contaminants from the water, there will obviously be less health risk and even a few benefits. What those are, however, may not be as clear, but there are a whole range of positive effects brought on by clean water, including:
- Reduced risk of waterborne illnesses E. coli, which claims around 1.5 million lives each year, is considered a waterborne illness and can potentially be found in unfiltered water. Even weaker bacteria and other foreign material can cause illnesses which drive up medical spending while forcing sick days with work, school or play.
- Reduces risk of disease and cancer While they may be a part of the cleaning and transportation system, lead and chlorine were never intended for consumption. Removing chlorine reduces the risk of breast, colon, rectal and other cancers. Taking out the lead, especially at high levels, can prevent lead poisoning that can cause anemia, kidney and brain damage. Children are especially susceptible to the effects of lead and it is one of the leading causes of learning disorders.
- Better digestive health Filtered water provides greater protection from gastrointestinal diseases by removing things like cryptosporidium and giardia. It can also improve the digestive system overall by improving the metabolism and allowing it to more successfully flush out waste. This may also help with restoring natural bowel movements.
- Better for baby Filtered water is highly recommended for children by parents and doctors for a wide variety of health reasons. Even from conception, consuming filtered water over tap water can help avoid birth defects and other complications. Filtered water can also boost their immune system to help prevent other illnesses.
Clean water can even help make meals taste better by allowing the natural flavor of the food to be preserved. Bacteria and other contaminants can alter the taste of food and cannot always be completely boiled out, so utilizing clean water will ensure the purest taste.
Bottled water has been one of the most common solutions for easy access to filtered water, but there are some major shortcomings. For some brands, the water doesn't actually vary greatly from tap water. Additionally, in recent years it has been found that chemicals from the bottle can leech into the water. This is especially when the bottles are significant heat.
They can also be exceptionally expensive and wasteful if they are the sole source of water consumption in a home. With the suggested amount being eight eight-ounce glasses a day using 16.9 oz bottles, at least four bottles would have to be used for each person daily. That adds up to nearly 1,500 bottles of waste a year.
Types of Filters
There are a wide variety of water filter solutions available nowadays. Some come built into water bottles or pitchers while others are fixtures installed under the sinks. While the biggest determining factor is frequency of usage, there are pros and cons to consider for each option.
- Pitcher/Carafe Filters While a pitcher may be the perfect solution for a single users or even couples, frequent refilling can become tiresome for large families. These also use filters that require replacing, so multiple users will run through filters quickly, offsetting the low initial cost of the pitcher. Additionally, while it does remove chlorine, the common type of filter used in pitchers may miss many other contaminants, including heavy metals and fluoride.
- Tap Filters These are also the same types of filtration systems as the pitchers, but are directly mounted to the faucet. Though they do not require refilling, the weight can warp the faucet over time depending on its weight and may be awkward to install with certain designs.
- Refrigerator Filters If in the market for a fridge as well, purchasing one with a water dispenser is an easy route to take. This is the only time the option is truly available as they typically cannot be installed after the fact. However, the small units mean they require frequent filter replacements as well and they are only about on par or slightly more effective than the pitcher filter.
- Water Distiller The process of distilling uses heat to turn the water to steam. It then rises and moves to a cooling chamber, where it returns to its liquid state with large particles and bacteria removed. This is very effective but can also remove beneficial minerals as well. They also come in a variety of sizes with proportionate cost.
- Reverse Osmosis Filter Usually installed under the sink, these filters use a semi-permeable membrane. Though they produce fairly pure water, they rely on the water pressure and, because of this, reduce it. Additionally, a significant amount of water is wasted in the process.
- Point of Entry Filtration Though certainly the most costly, starting just under $900, this system provides filter water throughout the entire building, including the shower. However, the maintenance is generally simple and requires less regular interaction. This can also work well with a water softening system. Ultra violet options are available as well which can give a good system an additional edge on the smaller options.